Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Williams Lunch on Limoges honored with historic ornament

DADE CITY — Phil Williams lowered his eyes when he recalled the stacks of get well cards next to his hospital bed. The doctors had never seen such a flood of well wishes.

"The outpouring of love and concern was a great boost to me," said Williams, 71.

Earlier this year, a heart attack landed Williams, owner of Williams Lunch on Limoges, in the hospital for five months. The community feared for the man whose restaurant helped spark the transformation of Dade City from a once-booming citrus town into a tourist destination.

"Half of Dade City wanted to be in the hospital with him," said employee Marie Wunderlich.

Williams is better now. Walk into the restaurant any morning and you'll find him laughing with customers or nodding along to the Broadway music piped over the speakers.

His illness earlier this year is not why the Dade City Garden Club selected Williams Lunch on Limoges to honor on their annual historical ornament.

At least, that's what they say at first.

"It could have played a part in it subconsciously," conceded Garden Club member Pat Carver.

Each year, the Garden Club selects a historical Dade City building to showcase. The facades of local churches, an old railroad depot and the historic downtown courthouse have all been replicated on the three-inch, two dimensional brass ornaments.

"All of the ornaments represent a place I've known forever," said Margaret Beaumont, 69, of San Antonio. Her father bought them for her and her eight siblings every year until he passed away six years ago. She's since continued the tradition.

The ornaments have been around 14 years, about as long as waitress Brenda Kilby, 52, has served Lunch On Limoges' homemade crab cakes to Red Hat Society ladies, and a fraction of the time the store has served Dade City.

Williams's grandfather opened the shop in 1908. His uncle and father took over 16 years later, trading an Oldsmobile convertible for the present site on Seventh Street. In 1981, Williams sold his Mercedes to help fund the transformation from department store to restaurant and gift shop.

The reopening doubled as a local reception for Princess Diana's wedding to Prince Charles.

"I wanted to do something different," Williams said.

In June, when he was wheeled through his creation in a wheelchair, he realized how special it was.

"I had fresh eyes," Williams said. "I realized there is really not another store like this. It made me feel wonderful."

He runs the dining room while Skip Mize oversees the kitchen. They've been together for 34 years, and when Williams was in the hospital, Mize realized he didn't want to run the business without him.

Sunday, the store is hosting a sold-out fashion show and fundraiser for the Garden Club, a long time tradition. This year's theme is joie de vivre, French for joy of living.

"The theme has to do with not only my situation," Williams said. "But a general theme of encouraging people to enjoy the day."

Earlier this week, Mize held the hands of a grey haired woman as she chatted his ear off. In the back of the shop, Williams admired the new wing tip shoes of a customer.

The staff was busy preparing the dining room. It was almost lunch time, and already the Red Hats were piling in.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Fast facts

Ornaments available

Dade City Garden Club's historical ornaments are available at Williams Lunch on Limoges, 14139 S Seventh St., Dade City, for $15.

Williams Lunch on Limoges honored with historic ornament 11/12/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 14, 2008 10:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.